24 April 2018

Rwandan Genocide - Over 900 Suspects Still On Wanted List

Most of them are hiding in neighbouring countries, 24 years after the progrom.

Rwandans earlier this month commemorated the 1994 genocide that began on April 6, 1994 and lasted 100 days. The unprecedented massacres left about a million people dead - mostly minority Tutsis and their sympathisers from the majority Hutu ethnic group.

The mass killings were sparked off by the downing of the plane of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana over the capital, Kigali. He died alongside his counterpart from neighbouring Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira, as the two were returning from peace talks in Tanzania.

According to the Unit for Follow-up of Genocide Fugitives, GFTU, cited by "East African" newspaper, 911 genocide suspects remain on the wanted list, 24 years after the killings. While a few live in Europe, most of them are in the region. In all, 242 suspects are in neighbouring Uganda, while 303 are in next door Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

Frank Mugambage, Rwanda's Ambassador to Uganda, has been calling for the fugitives to be sent back home to stand trial. "The appeal is based on what is internationally accepted. International law and conventions agree on punishment for genocide. So everyone, nations and organisations have to work together so that suspects and perpetrators of the genocide face trial." "We have handed over to Ugandan authorities all the papers prepared by our judicial experts.

We have been following up and will continue to do so," noted Frank Mugambage. The last genocide suspect from Uganda was extradited to Rwanda in 2015. Meanwhile, lack of funds is understood to be responsible for the slow pace of extraditing fugitives to face trial at home, while others blame the situation on lack of political will.

Speaking at the 24th genocide commemoration on April 7, President Paul Kagame said though Rwandans have largely left behind their difficult past, there was need to keep remembering the massacres to ensure that "truth is not rewritten." UN Secretary General, António Guterres, lauded Rwandans' efforts at reconciliation after the atrocities. He urged other nations to learn from Rwanda's experience and take steps to protect their citizens from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity

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